Here is INSIDR’s ultimate Paris pharmacy shopping guide for 2019! It is our updated version together with the Paris pharmacy must-buy list! When traveling in Paris, you must go to a local pharmacy to score some of France’s best beauty products! This is where the French beauty experts get their favorite skincare and hair products. To help you navigate those thousands of neon green crosses scattered all over the city, we have made a guide to help you learn more about the brands, which are the best pharmacies to go to, the cheapest ones and their opening hours! We even included our favorite selection of Paris pharmacy products for you to take back home with you in 2019.
Why pharmacy shopping in Paris is the best?
French people beauty secret
The French take their healthcare and beauty routine very seriously and pharmacies are a big part of that. There is the traditional pharmacy, where locals go for medical advice and to pick up prescriptions and then there is the French “para-pharmacie”. Think of them as a cross between a traditional pharmacy and a haven for all things beauty and skincare. Most Parisians don’t go to standard beauty and cosmetics stores, they head straight for the para-pharmacy. As this is where you’ll find the best brands, prices, selections and expert advice from highly trained pharmacists.
In a big department store, you will find a range of products that are more focused on the cosmetology side of beauty. In the “para-pharmacie” however, like Citypharma you will find products that are focused on the dermatology side of the beauty industry. The emphasis, therefore, is to help maintain healthy skin.
Personalized guidance by health specialists
Walking into a pharmacy in Paris is like walking into skincare and cosmetic paradise. However, when you don’t speak the local language, things are quickly lost in translation. Staff at para-pharmacies are extremely knowledgeable and are more likely to be multilingual than at traditional pharmacies. This is another reason we are huge fans of the Citypharma. They have locations in the center of Paris and their staff speaks English, French, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese. So no matter what language you speak they will be able to help you identify the perfect products for your skin type, your needs, and home environment.
Exclusivity products and brands
French skincare products are not available everywhere in the world, so during your travels, make sure to stock up on items that you can bring back with you. A great example is David Beckham’s line of House99 products. The exclusive brand is hard to find, but luckily for you, you can find them at Citypharma. Many brands, especially French brands, have special products launched specifically for different seasons. Some offer special products made for the summer sun others for the Christmas season where they offer exclusive packages. If you want to get access to items like these your chances are higher at a parapharmacie, where they carry a large range of products.
Practical tips for Paris Pharmacy shopping
Paris pharmacy hours
Paris pharmacies are usually open from 8 am to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday. It is rare to find one open after 8 pm in Paris. You can, however, find late night pharmacies at the airport and train stations. In the city itself, the pharmacy with the largest opening hours is Citypharma. Their location in Saint-Germain-Des-Près is opened from 8:30 am until 9 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 9 pm on Saturdays.
Paris pharmacy locations
While visiting Paris, you’re sure to notice that pharmacies are almost as common as bakeries. They can practically be found on every street corner!
Once again, Citypharma has the most central location! Their shops is conveniently located on the famous rue du Four right next to Le Bon Marché department store, you can’t miss it!
Address: 26 Rue du Four – Corner 49 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Schedule: 8:30am-9pm Mon-Fri; 9am-9pm Sat
Paris Pharmacy online
Some of the biggest pharmacy networks have an online shop available and some have international shipping. Citypharma has a brand new online shop.
Cheapest Paris Pharmacy – Citypharma
Where to find a discount at Paris pharmacy
Since there are so many different pharmacies in Paris, you might think that they’re all similar in terms of price and selection. Think again! To find the perfect pharmacy that specializes in dermatology and carries the best brands for a good price is not an easy feat. It’s no secret why we love Citypharma. Our top reason is that it’s simply the best combination of price and availability in town. Not only do they have the largest selection of brands, but they also carry different sizes for most products, from travel-size to bulk. Whether you’re looking for health supplements, organic essential oils or your favorite cleanser, they’ve got you covered head to toe!
Don’t forget to check out the special deals launched by Citypharma and CTRIP, Ecentime and Aishopping as well! Aside from paying in cash, Master Card and Visa, now customers can also pay through Alipay, WeChat Pay as well as Union Pay.
Immediate tax refund
A tax refund service is available in some shops around Paris, but often you have to wait for your refund at the airport (and can’t use your refund money to continue shopping in Paris!). However, at the Galeries Lafayette department store, immediate cash-back is available. For skincare shopping, the best place to get a tax refund is Citypharma. Get a 12% refund if your purchases exceed 175.01€ for customers outside of the EU. Make sure you bring your passport with you if you’re planning a shopping day in Paris, you’ll need it for the tax refund services!
Paris Pharmacy must-buy
Paris Pharmacy skincare
As we explained in our French beauty routine article, the secret of French women’ natural beauty is based on 4 products: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer. No need to buy a million products with fancy features for every single part of your face or body. French health specialist brands make great sunscreen too and if you care about ageing gracefully you should think of stocking-up on La Roche-Posay or Esthederm sun protection products. French anti-aging products found in a French Pharmacy are some of the best in the world. Beauty specialists Darphin have cutting-edge technology with an incredibly large range of anti-ageing products.
Paris pharmacy brands – 2021 Top 3
Darphin is definitely one of the most well known and iconic French skincare brands. Launched by Pierre Darphin in 1958, the brand has only grown more popular over the years. Darphin has everything, you could possibly need when it comes to skincare like facials, anti-ageing products, brightening creams and refining masks. Formulated with concentrated botanical extracts, the products have luxurious textures and smells. It’s no wonder these products are used in spas around the world, but now you can bring the spa experience right into your home! Our favorite Darphin products are the 8-flower nectar serum, cleansing balm, and Hydraskin moisturizer.
Bioderma is another must-buy skincare line you can only find at a para pharmacy. Their famous for their micellar water that deeply cleanses skin without causing irritation. It’s a staple in most French households. All Bioderma products respect the skin’s natural pH levels and are never harsh, Bioderma’s goal is to preserve the skin’s natural beauty. It’s definitely the ideal brand for people with sensitive skin. In addition to their micellar water, Bioderma has moisturizers, toners, sunscreen, masks and many other products.
Condensé Paris is another French brand we can’t live without. These high-quality products only use 100% natural ingredients and they are always paraben and alcohol-free. Their products are also never tested on animals. In fact, our secret weapon to fight wrinkles is the Condensé Anti-Aging eye cream. It contains Red Clover Flower extract and Lupin protein to stimulate the skin for a more youthful complexion. They have a full line of other products including gentle cleansers, deep moisturizers, serums, and other age-fighting products. Condensé is one of the higher-end brands and their products are great gifts to bring home with you.
Paris pharmacy must-have list by INSIDR
Beyond the French diet
Another core aspect of the French beauty routine is that health starts from the inside out. Applying skincare products and makeup is only part of the battle. The French are notoriously careful about what they consume on a daily basis. It’s not about avoiding rich food or indulgence, French cuisine is full of cream and butter, but about consuming high-quality products and supplements. One of our favorites includes Caudalie’s vinexpert Dietary Supplements. The supplement is packed with antioxidants that help firm skin and reduce wrinkles when it is used on a consistent basis.
Don’t let your skin stress out!
Our skin is put to the test on a daily basis with pollution, stress, cold weather and many other factors that can’t be avoided. This understandably causes irritation and if you are someone who suffers from particularly sensitive skin, it’s not a fun battle. Luckily, Darphin has found the perfect blend of natural plant extracts to smooth and protect the epidermis. The Intral Serum helps reduce redness and instantly comforts irritated skin.
Morning skin care routine – Prime and hydrate your skin all in one
Mornings can be hectic. We’ll admit it, sometimes we hit our snooze button so many times that we don’t have time for our proper morning skincare routine. It happens – even to the French. That’s why we love Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. This world-renowned French moisturizer primes and hydrates skin simultaneously. The rich cream nourishes dry skin and is an outstanding makeup primer. Your foundation will stay on longer, look smoother and you’re sure to have a glow all day long. The all-in-one product will also save you a few precious minutes in the morning.
Paris pharmacy dictionary
To help you find the perfect products for you, we’ve created a cheat sheet with common French skincare vocabulary: